Well, I guess now it really has been a while since I posted. Sometimes, life gets in the way of our best intentions. A few things happened in my personal life that unintentionally amounted to a summer blog break. Happy to be back!
One of the many things I did this summer was work on my backyard urban garden. I am lucky to live in an area of the city where houses have yards, and even luckier to have one the larger yards on the block. When we moved in, I put in several raised beds that I use for a vegetable and herb garden each spring and summer.
As anyone who has ever gardened can tell you, it generally goes two ways: either what you planted totally fails and produces nothing (this years bell pepper crop) or it grows so successfully it quickly goes from exciting to stressful. Zucchini are notorious for this! I picked so many zucchini this year, many of them of an alarmingly large size, that I started to wonder if they were legitimately trying to take over the garden. With so much harvest, I quickly ran out of ideas for cooking with them.
Thankfully, there is a baking solution to this over abundance. Unlike some other vegetables, zucchinis are surprisingly easy to use in both sweet and savory recipes. Despite having a fairly distinctive taste, they easily disappear into cakes and breads without leaving any trace they are there. Seriously. I have made a zucchini dessert for a family member who totally avoids all vegetables and even he admitted it tasted good. If you don’t say the zucchini is there, no one will know.
Even if you are not drowning in homegrown zucchini, you should still make this delicious chocolate bread. Zucchini have a lot of water, which makes them great for achieving a moist cake. And can you trick your loved ones (or yourself) into getting a little more vegetables while enjoying a dessert. That is a total win-win.
To shred the zucchini, use the large holes of a box grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding disc. Do not wring or drain the zucchini, this recipe is counting on all of its water content to achieve the right batter consistency.
When measuring something sticky like honey, it’s good to coat the measuring cup in oil first to help get the honey out. Since the recipe calls for oil, you can just measure and pour the oil first. Then use the same measuring cup for the honey – it will slide right out!
As usual, you can use any mix of chocolate chips you like. I went for a mix of white and dark chocolate here, but use whatever you enjoy!
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Adapted (only slightly) from King Arthur Flour
Makes one loaf, about 8-10 servings
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
- 8 oz chocolate chips (any type)
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper, leaving over hang on one side to create a sling. Lightly butter it with softened butter
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, honey, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
In a small bowl, mix the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and flour, with a whisk until well combined. (I prefer to put the cocoa through a sieve first, to ensure there are no lumps). Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix to combine.
Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the bread for 65 to 75 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. The loaf is done when a tester inserted into the center comes out clean of batter (some melted chocolate chips are fine). Do not over bake! When it smells done, it probably is.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Gently lift the bread from the pan using your parchment sling. Let cool completely before cutting (about 1 more hour).
The bread can stored well wrapped at room temperature for about 5 days.